The Parramatta Eels have scheduled a review of the performance of the club's football program for June, with coach Brad Arthur's future to be the main topic of discussion.
The Eels have decided to hold off on discussions around the club's future until after the mid-way point of the season, giving Arthur ample time to prove he is worthy of an extension beyond the end of his current deal.
While the Eels may not make an announcement directly after the meeting, it's understood Arthur will have a very strong indication whether he will have a job next season after the review.
"The board and I have been in discussions and we've discussed it with Brad," chief executive Bernie Gurr told NRL.com.
"We are getting inquiries about Brad's contract situation and that is not unreasonable, so we've decided to put some time parameters around it. We think June is a fair time for us to consider it. That gives Brad, the team and the coaching staff a reasonable time period to demonstrate improved performance from last year. It also demonstrates our support for Brad. We all want him and the players and the coaching staff to be successful."
The club originally wanted to do quarterly reviews but have since decided that it would be unfair on the coach to prove himself in such a short time frame.
Eels to make call on Arthur's future
The Eels don't play a home game until they open their new stadium in round six against the Wests Tigers on Easter Monday.
The club has been implementing several recommendations that came as a result of last season's review, with Gurr admitting things were on the improve at the club.
"I am happy," he said.
"I am happy with the new players we've brought in and I'm happy with what Brad and his staff have done through the off-season. There's a really good mood and as you know in footy clubs that is usually driven by the head coach."
The only potential negative consequence of waiting until midway through the season could be on the recruitment front if players baulk at re-signing or joining the Eels until they know who will be coach.
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Captain Clint Gutherson, who is contract at the end of this year, has a very close relationship with Arthur and is likely to want to know what's happening with the coach.
"Under Mark O'Neill's leadership those sort of discussions will continue," Gurr said.
"I don't think it'll hinder that aspect of things. We all need to improve. The objective here is to put some common sense time parameters around Brad's future. I think it's a reasonable amount of time. It gives the club a bit of clarity.
"It gives the new initiatives around the program time to be embedded. We know this is a results driven business but there are other performance criteria we all have to comply with. We've been around long enough. We know the deal."